High mobility group protein HMGA1 expression in breast cancer reveals a positive correlation with tumour grade.
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Members of the HMGA protein (high mobility group protein A) family act as master switches of the chromatin structure by bending DNA and thus modulating the formation of transcription factor complexes of a number of target genes. Accordingly, HMGA proteins have been shown to be associated with the development and/or progression of a variety of benign and malignant tumours. Nevertheless, the HMGA1 expression studies published so far have not included primary breast cancer samples. In this study we have investigated the HMGA1 expression patterns in a series of 170 breast cancer samples by immunohistochemistry. We have found a strong variation in HMGA1 expression between the tumours. Based on an immunoreactive score (IRS) 14.1% of the tumour samples were scored to IRS 8-12 (strong positivity for HMGA1), 24.7% were scored to IRS 4-6 (moderate positivity), 25.3% were scored to IRS 1-3 (weak positivity), and 35.9% showed no positivity at all. Immunoreaction could be detected in all histological types of breast cancers analysed with the exception of invasive papillary and cribriform carcinoma. Statistical analysis revealed a strong correlation between tumour grade and HMGA1 expression (rs=0.3516, p<0.0001). Thus, the HMGA1 expression level can be considered a potential prognostic marker for breast cancer.
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